Tag Archives: writing

When Characters Just Won’t Behave…

So. I decide to write a book. I have it all planned out to the extent of knowing exactly what is going to happen in each chapter.

I begin to write, all writerly, holding a cup of coffee as any serious author would. Feeling all important, and excited about finally getting to the writing stage after all the planning. The story flows nicely and I tut-tut myself for not making such pre-planned stories before. This is so easy!

toystore

Then, almost at the beginning, a surprise characters hops into the story. Ok, I say, when I see my subconscious knew better and the character is actually needed to move the story along believably. Good job, subconscious, for writing him into the story.

Then another character – again at the beginning chapters of the story – announces he won’t be playing by the book. Now that would be the First Vampire, and his plan is… scary. Insane, would any psychologist say, but then again I’m sure not many psychologists have had the chance to evaluate the dark depths of a vampire’s mind.  There were hints to his motives in the first book, so his plans fit those. Ok, thank you, subconscious.

All right… Nothing major…  I tweak the plot accordingly, not much tweaking needed… Change the order of some chapters… Add some necessary details to some… aaaand… done!

I sigh, content that I have the project under control again. A sip of the all important coffee that keeps me ticking, and I resume writing. Only there is no place to put the coffee cup anymore. The desk that was rather neat when I started is now under a pile of Egyptology books, as historical details need to be checked. Not to mention the cats who do their best to help in writing.

kitty_on_keyboard

And then another main character suddenly develops a skill I did not expect. It just wrote itself into the story. And of course this veers the plot into unexpected directions. This would be Shuet, who can only go out at night when the sun doesn’t touch her. I stare at the sentence that appeared on the screen and say WHAT THE HECK did you just say you can do? Why, oh why? But then again I realise my subconscious knew exactly what it did when the sentence just flowed into the story. Of course, of course it has to be there. Subconscious knew it all along… (I mumble under my breath that it could have told me this earlier…)

Tweaking, planning, sighing, removing, adding… Ok, finally the rest of the book is planned again. My hair is standing up from me pulling it while staring at the chapter plan, and I am having symptoms of caffeine overdose.

Seriously, characters – and my subconscious mind. Would you please start behaving and follow my nice plan for the story? It took me a month to make!

Sometimes writing a book and trying to make the characters follow orders is like herding cats… The subconscious remains nice and quiet when you analyse and make timelines and chapter plans. It gives a few nice tips what might happen, when and where. And when you start writing it begins to behave like a kid in a toy store. “I don’t want that after all! I want that! Oooo, and that! And that one from the upper shelf as well!”

Oh well. I continue with the story. Resigned to the fact that no matter how much I love calendars and careful planning to stay of top of my projects, the sequel to Nephilim Quest 1: Shadowhunter just snorts at such plans.

But I have to say I can’t wait each day to start writing again, to see how the story develops.

Back to the old keyboard (Shoo! Get off, cat!)

 

 

That feeling of holding your book in your hands…

I published Nephilim Quest part 1: Shadowhunter as an ebook in January. Many people prefer physical books so I planned to do the print version soon. It seems “soon” is a relative concept… Five months have gone by and other projects took over…

But finally I had the cover made by Cathy Helms of Avalon Graphics, downloaded the text files to Createspace, and ordered a proof copy of the novel.

It came today, and there sure is something special in holding your physical book in your hands for the first time. Makes the whole writing thing feel more real. (It will take a little while before the print version is on sale on Amazon, but I’ll let everyone know when that happens – in case someone wants to buy the print version). In the meanwhile anyone wishing to grab the ebook, here’s the link to Amazon.

Oh, and part two of Nephilim Quest (Amarna) is soon at 90.000 words… It will be a long story again, but as the first part has 550 pages, I am sure no one is surprised. I certainly cannot make a long story short 😀

 

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Smashwords survey of best author practices

Here is an extensive survey by Smashwords for you indie / self-published authors out there. It is about the best practices of bestselling authors.  Personally I chose to publish Nephilim Quest directly on Amazon and Payhip, and use Smashwords for the rest of the e-book stores. Very easy.

2016 Smashwords Survey Reveals Insight into the Habits of Bestselling Authors

Getting off the chair

I have been thinking how great it would be to have a treadmill-table and a laptop. That way it would be possible to get exercise while I write.

Well, there’s no space for the treadmill table. And I don’t have a laptop. (i have been drooling over one at the local Mac store, but so far the price has been too much for me… I wonder how long they will allow me to enter the store anymore. “Oh no, here she comes again!”)

We’ve all heard that sitting still for long periods of time is hazardous to your health. So, when I write I most often simply forget about time. And then after two-three hours I notice my shoulders are aching and my back is stiff.

I tried all sorts of timers on the computer to remind me to get off the chair. The problem was I forgot about them when I had my Scrivener screen in front of me in full screen mode. Also I do not like timers that give a sound alarm when the time is up. When I have forgotten myself into a story, any sudden noise simply scares the bejeebies out of me (the same when I am reading a good book).

So I needed something to remind me to get off the chair and move about. And that something could not be a timer in my computer. Also a watch on the table did not feel like the right option.

hourglasses

Instead I got these two hourglasses. The bigger one is for 45 minutes, and the smaller one for 15 minutes. I have the bigger one right next to my computer screen. When all the sand has trickled to the lower bulb and the 45 minutes are up, I immediately notice it. I get up, and turn the 15 minute hour glass around. And for that 15 minutes I go about the home and arrange things. I’ve been cleaning my kitchen cupboards, vacuuming, dusting… And it actually doesn’t feel like a chore at all. (And that is a lot coming from my mouth – yours truly and the vacuum cleaner have never been the best of friends).

I’m sitting here wondering have I actually found a way to a) not sit still for too long periods of time and b) to clean the home in a way that feels like fun. So far, a few weeks into the method I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself for coming up with it.